Additonal Challenges Faced by Non-Traditional Students: Evaluating Campus Resources for Veteran Students
Authors:Tammi Chaparro, Andrea Lavilles, Ariana Quinonez
Mentor:Dr. Mary Danico, Vice Chair and Professor of Sociology, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Transfer students entering four year universities face different sets of challenges than their peers who started out their university careers as freshmen. While many have experienced the college experience, the shift from two year to four year along with starting over, has proven to add to the psychological, academic, and environmental challenges for the transfer students (Lanaan, 2001; Johnson, 2005). One group of transfer students who face additional challenges is Military Veterans. The vets who return to civilian life face multiple layers of challenges, but for those who return to school there are additional layers of challenges- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, health problems due to military service, balancing school and the VA appointments, and issues with getting timely financial aid are just a few problems that veteran students face in addition to being transfer students (Herrman, et. al, 2008; DiRamio & Jarvis, 2011). As university campuses experience more military vets, they are also increasing programs to provide a supportive environment for transfer vets. Melguizo et. al (2011) argue that despite limited resources, transfer students are still successful academically. However many studies recommend additional resources be provided to increase the retention and graduation rates for these groups and a supportive environment as they transition from military culture to university life. (Gilroy, 2013; Hermann, et al. 2008). Despite these efforts, we hypothesize that transfer students still experience not only transfer shock, but also experience cultural deficits in learning about research opportunities, internships, career possibilities, and other university related support that is readily available. Based on the “Community Wellbeing” surveys provided by the Cal Poly Veterans Center, our research points to positive outcomes for transfer vets, but also provides alternative suggestions to further support their transition to university life.